Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.
During my 20 years in bondage to sexual sin, it became such a large part of my life that I didn’t want to let it go, even though it was killing me emotionally and spiritually. It was wrapped around my soul; I was comfortable with it. Lust was a form of love that filled in the gaps of my life, I thought. The truth was that it was hollowing me out.
Would God come in and fill that big hole with His love and life? After I’d failed so many times, did He even want to?
Several years later, in 1999, He answered my question by overflowing my heart with love, joy, and peace. Immediately prior, I had begun to answer Jesus’ question of “Do you want to be healed” by going all out to divorce lust. It was an act of faith; if God didn’t show up, the vacuum within would have intensified.
Jesus continues to ask His people the same question he asked the man at the pool by the Sheep Gate: “Do you want to be healed?”
Many aren’t ready, or don’t want healing at all. Some want a silver bullet; the magic Bible verse that will instantly resolve their problems. I’ve seen plenty of Gollums who have made porn or masturbation their “precious;” the thing they’re obsessed about and believe is giving them life.
Jesus offers healing for more than sexual sin.
I struggled with depression for years until God started shining His life into my soul and showing me that I was holding onto it. There were lies attached to the depression I needed to face, renounce, and release that had trojan-horsed themselves into my heart.
We can hold onto many things that are harmful; sexual sin, isolation, depression, fear, resentment, anxiety, overeating, obsession with current events, and other addictions common to our time such as the love of The Video Screen. We can build and fortify walls around our heart that will protect us, we think, from getting hurt. But the heart refuses to cooperate with being imprisoned in a concrete box; anger and resentment will leak out and spray our loved ones. Fear, anger’s cousin, finds a home, and invites pride to join the party.
After Jesus asked the man if he wanted to be healed, his response was, in essence, “I don’t have anyone to help me.” God is missing from his reply. Some put all their expectations on people to fix their problems: family, their spouse, maybe a counselor or their church. Then when people fall short of their expectations, they get bitter at their loved ones. Or God.
Healing requires action.
Jesus told the man at the Sheep Gate to “Get up, take up your bed, and walk!” Some become comfortable sitting in their stinking pile of sewage and excrement. They usually complain about everything. When invited to take the action steps that will lead to healing, Snap-Wa-Ping! Their booby trap goes off, their defenses go up, and they make every excuse possible to avoid looking within or making a change.
My friends, one of your greatest enemies is comfort. Comfort can keep you trapped in misery and a lukewarm spirit for years. There are many who are wasting their lives because they’ve made comfort their god.
Some use “I’m all alone” as a cop out to wallow in the poop. If that’s you, have you prayed and asked God to show you a group to get involved with, or a person to contact, and have you looked for help? What action steps has God asked you to take that you’re ignoring? Is there a sin you refuse to release, an old wound you will not face? We hear stories all the time from people that they know God led them to us for help. Their journey to healing began when they stood up, cried out to God, and began looking earnestly for help. There are action steps demanded of every believer for freedom from sin and healing:
And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.
but I strictly discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
1 Corinthians 9:27
Healing requires warfare.
Satan will throw every lie and fear-dart he can at you to keep you sitting in the mud. “You dare not tell them what you’re done. What will they think? This will just be a waste of time. Hey, wouldn’t it feel good to look at porn, or down a bag of oreos? Ohhh, look at the movie that’s playing.”
You must expect opposition and be determined to go all out. This means much time on your knees in Heaven-rending prayer.
Healing requires community.
There are no isolated believers in God’s economy. You must be plugged into a community of other believers who you can do more than a Bible study with. You need a group or person who you can share your pain, sin, and struggles with. We all need Jesus with skin on.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed.
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Healing requires time and perseverance.
Joseph was sold into slavery at the age of 17. It wasn’t until he was 30 that he became second in command to Pharoah. This 13-year gap included at least two years in prison (some historians say it’s possible he was in jail for 10 years). The man by the Sheep Gate at the pool in John 5 had been waiting for 38 years. My journey to freedom from the bondage of sexual sin took 8 years. I have heard people say “I prayed and God didn’t answer,” meaning they did a one-off and gave up. You must be prepared to press and dig in, no matter how long it takes, no matter how rough the road.
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
Healing requires a passionate love-relationship with Jesus.
Do you really know Him? Is your soul filled with the fruit of the spirit (love, joy, peace…), or are you faking it? How’s your prayer life? Only God can provide the deep healing that reaches to your core.
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.
Thankfully, Jesus is patient, kind, and open to those who would come to Him with a passion to know Him.